BOSTON, MA - On Sunday afternoon, the Bruins had come off a 2-0 win in Detroit in their fourth preseason game, and Head Coach Claude Julien decided that, in the midst of a long, tiring training camp, his team needed an competitive split-squad scrimmage.
It energized the group, three fourths of which had played in Saturday night's victory over the Red Wings. It was the first time both camp groups had been mixed together on the ice, something indicative of the fact that we're only 11 days away from the B's season opener at TD Garden.
"I think it’ll come right down until the end to make those last few calls because what we’ve got right now, we’ve got a lot of discussions on certain players," Julien told media at TD Garden following the scrimmage.
"We’re getting closer and closer to bringing our roster to what we need it to be. But like I’ve said, we’ve got three games here, we’ve kept enough players to look at those players we need to evaluate for those last spots."
"But the guys that aren’t going to be here, at least we'll have a good idea of what they can bring to us when call-up time comes around during the season. It’s a good opportunity for everybody here, whether it’s guys that are not going to be here and get a chance to play a little bit more and become call-ups or even guys that we need to continue to assess and see where they fit on our hockey club."
There were a few players absent from the scrimmage, and it was soon announced after by GM Peter Chiarelli that the Bruins had released goalie Malcolm Subban from Boston's camp, along with defenseman Zach Trotman and forwards Carter Camper and Justin Florek. All four will join Providence's training camp, which officially kicks off on Monday.
Scrimmage Time: Gold Defeats Black 4-1
As training camp grows longer, and the group gets into the grind, Julien and his coaching staff thought the scrimmage would give their squad a little added life.
"I think we were all a little bit surprised but they keep us on our toes, which is nice. And I thought it went well," said center Chris Kelly, who played in Saturday night's 2-0 win over Detroit.
The scrimmage was two, 25-minute periods, with referees/officials on the ice, and there were plenty of power plays and 4-on-4 action, working on all aspects of the game in a different setting.
"I don’t know about you guys, I find this camp has been pretty long," Julien said, as he spoke with reporters following the scrimmage. Coach remained up in the stands with GM Peter Chairelli, watching his players, as his assistants ran the benches.
"You get to the point where you worked on all the parts of your game that you want to work on, and the best way to get better at it is by putting yourself in game situations, so I thought today’s scrimmage would be good for that reason."
The B's certainly enjoyed it, with the white jerseys (labeled the "Gold Team") coming out on top, 4-1.
Jarome Iginla scored for Gold on the power play from the bottom of the left circle (he loves that spot, eh?), firing in a rebound after David Krejci's shot from the high slot (of course, made possible by Torey Krug walking down into the corner, drawing the D with him, before feeding No. 46).
Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron and Zdeno Chara all added goals as well, with Big Zee's coming on a one-timer, as Krug penetrated the left side and hit the Captain with a feed in the high slot.
"It's a long camp, especially compared to last year," said newcomer this season, winger Nick Johnson, who has put himself on the radar of B's fans and media so far this camp, with three goals in his three preseason games.
"Good, clean competition; everyone was playing quick, fast, not too many hits or anything," he added, of the spirited scrimmage. "Well, other than Chara," he laughed. Big Zee gave Reilly Smith a little taste of his force when he decided to check the young winger into his opposing team's bench.
"Other than that, it was just good to try to do things out there; it's fun when you play against your friends."
Loui Eriksson scored the only goal for the squad in black jerseys, whipping in a shot from the slot.
"He’s a smart player; when you look at him you look at a guy who’s very reliable, and I think that’s where I see Loui, and I think the more comfortable he’s going to be, the more you’re going to see him produce and help," said Julien, of Eriksson getting comfortable with the B's and his new linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
"You saw that goal today, that line scored; I think it’s the kind of goals more from that line."
Carl Söderberg also continued his scoring touch, adding a shootout goal at the end of the scrimmage to his two tallies in Saturday night's win.
"Oh yeah, Carl, the Big Swede is hot," joked Kelly, who was his centerman in the victory. "It's good, it's good to see Carl feeling confident, feeling good, and hopefully that continues."
White/Gold Team Lineup
Black Team Lineup
Next Game: Capitals @ Bruins at TD Garden 9/23
The Bruins host the Washington Capitals in their next preseason game on Monday, September 23, at TD Garden. The game will be broadcast locally on NESN, and on NHL Network, along with radio via 98.5 The Sports Hub. On Twitter, @NHLBruins will have live updates.
Boston is 3-1 this preseason and last took a 3-2 shootout win from the Capitals in the "Baltimore Hockey Classic" on September 17.
Niklas Svedberg earned the win, playing the second half of the game and the shootout between the pipes, with Tuukka Rask having playing the first half.
One of those two netminders will be playing a full game in goal on Monday against the Caps.
"Every goaltender is getting a chance to play a full game here," confirmed Julien.